How Can Cities Deal with the Inconsistency of Solar Power?
Though more and more cities are starting to make use of solar energy, the energy source is still being held back by some inherent flaws. Perhaps its most troublesome flaw is that, at the present time, it can only realistically be used in real-time.
While there are batteries which are capable of storing solar power, they are far too expensive for cities to make any sort of efficient use of. This means that cities are only taking advantage of solar power when the sun is shining; not when it’s dark or overcast. Essentially, solar power is inconsistent. So, what can cities do to improve the consistency of solar power?
Why is solar power inconsistent?
In a perfect world, the sun would shine constantly, allowing us to transfer its energy directly to electrical circuits throughout the world. Of course, this has never been, and never will be possible. The sun sets. Clouds block out sunlight. Sunlight itself is inconsistent, therefore solar power is inconsistent.
What can cities do to make solar power more consistent?
Increasing the consistency of solar energy is absolutely vital if it’s going to thrive for use by cities and municipalities. Currently, cities are using a couple of methods to achieve adequate (though limited) solar power consistency. However, these methods are not ideal, as they possess a number of inconvenient and costly flaws. So, what can be done?
Perhaps the most obvious measure that cities can take to make solar power more consistent is to store it. By preserving solar energy in batteries, cities can make use of it at a later time, allowing it to fill in the gaps of time in which there is no sunlight present.
The problem with this method is that, as of right now, it’s far too expensive. Making use of existing power sources is still far more cost-effective for cities overall. The cities that do make use of solar power supplement it greatly with various fossil fuels. These fossils fuels may be harmful to the environment, but they are also a great deal less expensive.
Cities, inventors, and scientists are attempting to figure out how they can store solar energy in a cheaper manner. They’re making progress, but they still have a long way to go.
Supplement it with other renewable energies
Cities that use solar energy currently power themselves by supplementing solar energy with fossil fuels. But what if, instead of using fossils fuels, these cities used other renewable energies to supplement solar energy?
Some cities are already making use of alternative energies such as hydropower, geothermal, and wind. If cities were to ramp up their efforts to generate these kinds of power, they might very well be able to completely supplement solar energy with other forms of renewable energies.
Which municipalities are leading the charge on solar consistency?
While solar power still has a long way to go in order to become a consistent power source for cities, many U.S. municipalities are going far out of their way to lead the charge. The state of California, in particular, is making a strong push to accommodate consistent solar power.
In 2010, the Golden State passed a law requiring that the three largest utilities in the state use at least 1,235MW of energy storage by 2020. This is being done to make room on the grid for California’s abundance of solar power.
Los Angeles is currently leading the way in solar power usage, and looks as if it will be the leader in that department for years to come. Other high-ranking cities include San Diego, Phoenix, San Antonio, Indianapolis, New York, and Denver. The tide hasn’t quite turned yet, but it appears as if it’s just around the corner. Consistent solar power is inching closer and closer to becoming a reality. In Chicago, if you have any solar energy questions for your home or business, call the solar energy contractor team at SolarWerks today.